Granger Smith's wife reveals late son River's organs saved 2 lives

PHOTO: Granger and Amber Smith visit Dell Childrens Medical Center of Central Texas to present a donation in memory of their son, River Kelly Smith on June 25, 2019 in Austin, Texas.PlayRick Kern/Getty Images, FILE
WATCH Country star honors son who died in drowning

Granger Smith and his wife Amber continue to give back to others in the wake of losing their 3-year-old son River to a drowning accident earlier this year.

In an Instagram post Sunday, Amber Smith revealed the family donated River's organs after his death, resulting in saving the lives of two people.

"When 3 different neuro specialists told us that River had 0% chance of brain recovery (yes 0, not 10 or 1%, 0) after shock and reality set in, I thought, how can we bury our sweet baby and not try to help others?" she wrote, after explaining that she always knew she would donate her organs to help others after her own death.

She continued, "His body is perfect, his organs are perfect, we had to do something. There are so many people waiting for an organ to save their lives. The doctors said donation was quite a process. We would have to search for viable recipients and it could take days."

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I've always known I wanted to be a donor if anything were to ever happen to me. I just felt that if I had viable organs, why would I go into the ground with them? My spirit would be in Heaven, so why not save a life if I could? Never in a million years did I think I would be making that decision for my baby. When 3 different neuro specialists told us that River had 0% chance of brain recovery (yes 0, not 10 or 1%, 0) after shock and reality set in, I thought, how can we bury our sweet baby and not try to help others? His body is perfect, his organs are perfect, we had to do something. There are so many people waiting for an organ to save their lives. The doctors said donation was quite a process. We would have to search for viable recipients and it could take days. We knew River's spirit was in Heaven, but we couldn't bear to watch his tiny, earthly body be pumped full of all the medicines for 3 or more more days while they searched. They tried to expedite the process so our family could be in peace, told us they would take him back to operate the next morning, but we wouldn't know what organs could be used until after. With such a small body, organs had to be measured physically, not just by X-ray. I spent the night laying in bed with him, crying and talking to him while they kept running tests and taking blood. The next morning family and staff lined the hall for the “walk of honor”. We told them River liked to go fast, so to honor him, they pushed him down that hall faster than they had ever pushed anyone. Granger and I held each other and cried. We got the letter that our tiny, red-headed hero gave life to 2 adults. A 49 year old woman and a 53 year old man. I cried when we opened it. Cried out of sadness & cried out of love. I'm so proud to be River's mama and I'm so grateful to God that he gave him to us for those incredible 3 years. I pray these 2 recipients live healthy, joy filled, full throttle lives just like Riv. It was one of the hardest, yet easiest, decisions we've ever made. There are over 113,000 people waiting for transplants & 20 people die each day waiting. Go to OrganDonor.gov to see how you can help give life as well. ❤️

A post shared by Amber Smith (@amberemilysmith) on Jul 13, 2019 at 11:25am PDT

But the family knew they had to continue his legacy somehow, and doctor's tried to "expedite the process" of donation so they didn't have to grieve any longer than possible.

"I spent the night laying in bed with him, crying and talking to him while they kept running tests and taking blood," she wrote. "The next morning family and staff lined the hall for the 'walk of honor'. We told them River liked to go fast, so to honor him, they pushed him down that hall faster than they had ever pushed anyone. Granger and I held each other and cried."

Next, she announced that "our tiny, red-headed hero gave life to 2 adults."

"A 49 year old woman and a 53 year old man. I cried when we opened it. Cried out of sadness & cried out of love," she added. "I'm so proud to be River's mama and I'm so grateful to God that he gave him to us for those incredible 3 years. I pray these 2 recipients live healthy, joy filled, full throttle lives just like Riv. It was one of the hardest, yet easiest, decisions we've ever made. There are over 113,000 people waiting for transplants & 20 people die each day waiting."

This act follows work the family has done to raise money for the hospital that treated River. Last month, Smith donated more than $218,000 he raised to Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin, Texas.

"You guys gave us a feeling that we were very special," Smith told the hospital, handing them a check late last month. "The feeling that our son was very special, all the while knowing there are many kids here [in need of help] ... We felt like we were the only ones in the world, the only ones that mattered."

Granger Smith also took to social media and YouTube in mid-June with his wife to tell fans how his family is holding up amid the unspeakable tragedy that happened on June 6.

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We've been on quite the journey these past few weeks. I've been dark on social media, but I still have a full understanding of the responsibility placed upon me as a public figure. I can choose to snuff that influence, or instead use my platform (in relevancy big or small) towards what I believe is right. I believe I'm obligated on certain levels to include you guys in my current journey, as I've been involved either personally or musically in yours. - The finality and mortality brought on by death makes life feel fragile. It can weaken, terrify and separate those close to it. But it can also awaken us. It can remind us never to take a moment with those we love for granted. - In my house, we have united stronger and closer than we've ever been. We've cried. We've smiled. I've held my family tight. I've found strength from God and used that in the face of adversity so that my wife and children can rely on me. I've guarded my heart and my mind during weak moments and graciously accepted all of the encouragement and empathy from so many. I have realized that I will not slave over a search for answers, but instead for meaning. I will focus and then cultivate the light from a dark place, the good from the bad, God's will from my own plans. I can rest assured knowing that River's assignment on earth was always intended for 1116 days and not only did he live it to the fullest, but he lived it loved by so many, including a mother, father, sister and brother who held nothing back and have no regrets on how much he felt that love. We should all be so blessed to be able to live like Riv. - Amber and I want you to hear it from us and not just read it, so we made this little video for you to watch. (Link in bio)Thank you for all the love, prayers and support. We feel it!

A post shared by Granger Smith (@grangersmith) on Jun 19, 2019 at 4:57pm PDT

"We've been on quite the journey these past few weeks," Smith wrote. "I've been dark on social media, but I still have a full understanding of the responsibility placed upon me as a public figure. I believe I'm obligated on certain levels to include you guys in my current journey, as I've been involved either personally or musically in yours."

Smith added that the loss of a son "makes life feel fragile," but "it can remind us never to take a moment with those we love for granted."